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+80 Examples of Resume Action Words for Every Profession

Resume writing | 2016-12-09
Natalie Severt - resume expert at Uptowork Natalie Severt
Resume Expert at Uptowork

Looking for ways to spice up your resume? 

 

Powerful resume action words are the answer. 

 

Let’s do an experiment. 

 

Take a look at your resume and count how many times you’ve used the phrase “responsible for.” Now, every time you see that phrase imagine a using a verb that packs a punch instead.

 

Using strong resume action words aka “resume power verbs” will make your resume come alive. 

 

It will also save you space and make your resume easier to read. That translates to - MORE INTERVIEWS.

 

Here’s what you’re going to find:

 

  • Tired resume words vs. powerful resume action verbs. 
  • Examples of good resume action words by category and profession.
  • Examples of how to use active resume verbs in your experience section.

 

man using action words for a resume

 

1. How to Effectively Use Powerful Resume Action Words

 

Let me tell you a little story.

 

Okay, you’re at a party, and you notice a guy who keeps saying, “Let me tell you something.”

 

We’ll call him Andrew.

 

Andrew says,  “Let me tell you something. Once when I was climbing Mt. Everest….

 

Let me tell you something. Once when I was navigating the Amazon River....” 

 

At some point, you and your friends start saying, “No. Let ME tell YOU something.” 

 

Now, let me tell you something. I bet you don’t have a good impression of Andrew.

 

Andrew is a joke even though he’s climbed Mt. Everest and navigated the Amazon. Because all you noticed was his catchphrase - let me tell you something.

 

Now, imagine that you’re reading a resume and every bullet point in the experience section starts with “responsible for.” 

 

Do you think the hiring manager is going to pay attention to the interesting things that follow that boring and tired phrase? That’s a rhetorical question.

 

How can you avoid being like Andrew? Use strong resume action verbs. 

 

Let’s jump right into the examples of power words to use on a resume. 

 

So you’ve read the job description, and it lists the following as desirable skills: 

 

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Creativity and Problem Solving
  • Teamwork

 

Yes, you can use tired verbs for a resume when you start writing the bullet points in your experience section. Words like “led,” “communicated,” or “responsible for.” 

 

Or you can lead with strong verbs. Like these:

 

List of Strong Resume Action Words: Leadership

 

Resume Example Scenario: You managed / led / were responsible for a team of other employees. 

 

Tired resume words would include:

 

  • Led 
  • Managed 
  • Responsible for

 

Right:

 

Spearheaded the launch of a new service that resulted in a 10% increase in sales.

 

Wrong:

 

Was responsible for the launch of a new service.

 

20 of the Best Resume Action Words for Leadership:

 

  1. Authorized
  2. Chaired
  3. Cultivated
  4. Delegated 
  5. Directed
  6. Enabled
  7. Executed 
  8. Facilitated
  9. Fostered
  10. Guided
  11. Headed
  12. Hosted 
  13. Inspired
  14. Mentored
  15. Mobilized
  16. Operated
  17. Orchestrated
  18. Oversaw 
  19. Spear­headed 
  20. Trained

 

Examples of strong resume power verbs in action: 

 

  • Administrative Assistant / Office Worker 

 

Trained a team of 3+ assistants for administrative positions. 

 

  • Accountant

 

Directed a financial team of 5+ employees responsible for payroll.

 

  • Bartender / Food Service Worker

 

Mentored five candidates for management positions, resulting in a 10% boost in employee retention rates.

 

  • Customer Service

 

Spearheaded an initiative to boost customer interest in the store loyalty card, resulting in a full 20% increase in sales of the card. 

 

  • Information Technology

 

Hosted a webinar on how to increase click through rate by 25% through landing page design.

 

  • Marketing

 

Oversaw the design and rebranding of 5 major campaigns for a large international company.

 

  • Nursing

 

Enabled continuity among nursing teams by documenting ongoing needs and actions.

 

  • Sales

 

Orchestrated an annual awards gala for +200 key clients.

 

  • Students

 

Mobilized the student body government to organize a fundraising event that brought in over $500,000 in contributions toward scholarships for underprivileged students.

 

  • Teaching

 

Cultivated an extracurricular book club that resulted in 50+ students joining after 2 years and reading up to 15 books a year.

 

using communication skills at work

 

List of Strong Resume Action Words: Communication

 

Resume Example Scenario: You communicated / spoke / wrote / something.  

 

Tired resume words would include: 

 

  • Communicated 
  • Spoke
  • Wrote

 

Right:

 

Negotiated with vendors to lower office supply costs by 15%.

 

Wrong:

 

Communicated with office supply vendors.

 

20 of the Best Resume Action Words for Communication:

 

  1. Advocated
  2. Authored
  3. Clarified
  4. Composed
  5. Consulted
  6. Conveyed
  7. Convinced
  8. Corresponded
  9. Defined
  10. Explained
  11. Fielded 
  12. Illustrated
  13. Influenced 
  14. Informed
  15. Mediated
  16. Moderated
  17. Negotiated 
  18. Promoted
  19. Persuaded
  20. Publicized

 

Examples of strong resume power verbs in action: 

 

  • Administrative Assistant / Office Worker 

 

Influenced brand recognition through maintaining key media relationships.

 

  • Accountant

 

Authored monthly reports for 4+ senior managers in line with reporting deadlines.

 

  • Bartender / Food Service Worker

 

Informed customers about food and wine pairings increasing wine sales by 15%.

 

  • Customer Service

 

Composed an updated version of our call script increasing self-reported customer satisfaction by 25%. 

 

  • Information Technology

 

Moderated panel discussions with leading industry experts, resulting in recognition as a thought leader in the industry.  

 

  • Marketing

 

Promoted 15 major products for Coty across 3 major international markets.

 

  • Nursing

 

Fielded patient care concerns by charting in patient and department records.

 

  • Sales

 

Conveyed a streamlined approach to the internal use of Salesforce among project leaders. 

 

  • Students

 

Corresponded with 3 different universities to help establish an exchange program with schools in Asia.

 

  • Teaching

 

Advocated a balance between classroom curriculum and test materials for a 40% increase in student scores on placement tests.

 

words to use on a resume to describe creativity

 

List of Strong Resume Action Words: Creativity and Problem Solving

 

Resume Example Scenario: You innovated / improved / organized something.

 

Tired resume words would include: 

 

  • Innovated
  • Improved
  • Organized

 

Right:

 

Devised a way to cut costs in the department by 15%.

 

Wrong:

 

Improved budget spending.

 

20 of the Best Resume Action Words for Creativity and Problem Solving: 

 

  1. Analyzed 
  2. Built
  3. Calculated
  4. Crafted
  5. Designed
  6. Devised
  7. Drafted
  8. Enhanced
  9. Fashioned
  10. Forecast 
  11. Formulated
  12. Initiated
  13. Invented
  14. Maintained
  15. Operated
  16. Overhauled
  17. Personalized
  18. Piloted
  19. Pioneered
  20. Showcased

 

Examples of strong resume power verbs in action: 

 

  • Administrative Assistant / Office Worker 

 

Overhauled a filing system to increase response rates for clients by 50%.

 

  • Accountant

 

Formulated a budget plan that brought regular cost savings of 21% annually.

 

  • Bartender / Food Service Worker

 

Invented 10 new themed drinks bringing up sales by 4.5%. 

 

  • Customer Service

 

Personalized key customers’ shopping experiences which decreased returns by 50%.

 

  • Information Technology

 

Analyzed market trends resulting in a 10% increase in user engagement on our site.

 

  • Marketing

 

Fashioned 15 separate email marketing campaigns for a 75% increase in click through rate.

 

  • Nursing

 

Initiated a scheduling system that reduced patient waiting time by 15%.

 

  • Sales

 

Piloted a flex hours plan that increased employee productivity by 120%. 

 

  • Students

 

Built 6 professional theater sets along with a team of 5 others.

 

  • Teaching

 

Pioneered an after school program for underachieving students resulting in a 60% upswing in test scores across all subjects. 

 power words to use in resume when describing teamwork

 

List of Strong Resume Action Words: Teamwork

 

Resume Example Scenario: You cooperated / worked on / supported a team or project.

 

Tired resume words would include: 

 

  • Cooperated
  • Worked On
  • Supported

 

Right:

 

Contributed to an international team by providing French translations for +20 members.

 

Wrong:

 

Worked on a projects with a team of people.

 

20 of the Best Resume Action Words for Teamwork:

 

  1. Acknowledged
  2. Assimilated
  3. Blended
  4. Coalesced
  5. Collaborated
  6. Contributed
  7. Diversified
  8. Embraced
  9. Encouraged
  10. Energized
  11. Gathered
  12. Harmonized
  13. Ignited
  14. Joined
  15. Melded
  16. Merged
  17. Participated
  18. Partnered
  19. United
  20. Volunteered

 

Examples of strong resume power verbs in action:  

 

  • Administrative Assistant / Office Worker 

 

Energized +15 Project Managers to file 50% more safety reports across projects.

 

  • Accountant

 

United the efforts of the finance and legal teams to reduce layoffs by 20%.

 

  • Bartender / Food Service Worker

 

Partnered with the chef to chop vegetables and prepare garnishes during peak hours cutting serving times by half. 

 

  • Customer Service

 

Gathered data on product details from sales to increase customer satisfaction by 30%.

 

  • Information Technology

 

Acknowledged a need for office-wide tech awareness through a partnership with marketing resulting in a 10% increase in properly filed incident reports.

 

  • Marketing

 

Collaborated with the graphic design team to implement new brand guidelines across marketing materials company-wide.

 

  • Nursing

 

Harmonized relationships between healthcare teams boosting efficiency by 20%.

 

  • Sales

 

Encouraged management to implement online inventory management software, boosting sales across company e-commerce platforms by 30%.

 

  • Students

 

Participated in the organization of team-building activities resulting in 10x more efficiency among members.

 

  • Teaching

 

Ignited cooperation between science departments to fund a series of 6 speakers to address the student body.

 

Pro Tip: Use present tense when you list responsibilities for your current role. 

 how to use power words in a resume

 

2. Why Should You Use Powerful Resume Action Verbs?

 

What are action verbs?

 

Action verbs are powerful words that describe actions. Run. Walk. Sleep. Eat. 

 

Say these action verbs out loud to yourself. What happens? 

 

I bet you can see a person performing the action in your head. I say run, and you see a person running.

 

Now, what are resume action verbs?

 

Resume action verbs are strong words for a resume that describe your work responsibilities. Persuaded. Diversified. Analyzed. 

 

You’ve just read four lists of 20 action verbs to use on a resume - that’s 80 strong resume power words for you. You’re welcome. 

 

Also, it’s not about using fancy resume power words to sound smarter. In fact, using fancy resume power words has the opposite effect.

 

Using action verbs for a resume is about being specific.

 

That’s because good resume action verbs are more vivid and specific than tired “to be” resume verbs. In simpler terms, they make the pictures in your head.

 

For example:

 

  • I am a driver. 

 

  • I drive.  

 

The first example uses the form “to be”  - “I am.” Being something entails a lot more than doing something. “I am a driver” is a statement with an entire lifestyle packed into it. 

 

I drive” means one thing - I drive. You have a clear picture of a person driving. Why do you think that’s the only thing Ryan Gosling says in Drive?  

 

Bottom line? Good resume action verbs are simpler.  

 describing achievements with action verbs

 

3. Use Powerful Resume Action Words to Introduce Your Achievements

 

To add achievements to your resume you’ll want to use the PAR (Problem Action Result) approach. 

 

In situation P (Problem), I did A (Action) which lead to R (Result)

 

Many of the examples above are achievements that follow the PAR approach. 

 

For example: 

 

Informed customers about food and wine pairings increasing wine sales by 15%.

 

Problem: Needed to increase wine sales.

 

Action: Paired dishes with wine.

 

Result: Wine sales increased 15%.

 

Resume Action Verb:  Informed

 

Final product? 

 

Informed customers about food and wine pairings increasing wine sales by 15%.

 

Pro Tip: You don’t need to include the problem when you write achievements. Use the PAR approach when you need to recall your accomplishments. Then lead with the action and end with the result.

 

Want more examples of achievements for resumes? Read our guide: “Examples of Professional Achievements to Put on a Resume [3 Tips]

 

Key Takeaway

 

Here’s the thing. Your resume should be one to two pages long. That’s because a recruiter is only going to spend a few seconds scanning it for relevancy. So, when you’re looking for good words to use in a resume, less is more.

 

Action words for a resume cut down on your word count and make your resume easy to read.

 

Also, strong resume action verbs will allow hiring managers to see you doing those actions. Add a couple of quantifiable achievements, and they can see you doing those things well. And that’s how you get called in for interviews.

 

Did we miss any good resume action words? Need more examples of power verbs to use in a resume? Let us know in the comments. 

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